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Published on May 21, 2014
This animation of the asteroid Vesta was made from images and topography data collected by NASA's Dawn mission, rendered using the open-source POV-Ray graphics software. Each image frame contains a 'left' view rendered in red, and a 'right' view rendered in blue-green. When viewed through 3-D glasses, Vesta appears as a three-dimensional body floating in your computer screen. Notable features are the troughs that cut through the equatorial and northern hemisphere regions (Divalia Fossa and Saturnalia Fossa, respectively). To give a sense of scale, Divalia Fossa dwarfs the Grand Canyon! Also notable are the 'Snowman' craters Marcia, Calpurnia and Minucia, and the giant southern hemisphere impact basin Rheasilvia, with a diameter of over 500 km (310 mi). Its central peak rises almost 25 km (16 mi) from the lowest point of the crater floor, making it one of the tallest mountains in the Solar System. For comparison, Mt. Everest is 8 km, or about 5 mi, above sea level.
For more information about how this movie was made, see: